Going Green in Healthcare: The Rise of Compostable Medical Supplies

The rise in compostable medical supplies is noticeable as many hospitals go hard on embracing them. After many years of using traditional disposable items, they are starting to appreciate the significant benefits associated with sustainable medical supplies.

Over the past few years, there have been significant adverse effects due to the use of traditional medical supplies. To fix this, there has been a shift towards more sustainable products. The goals for this are not only to conserve energy and water but also it’s a viable way to prevent pollution and minimise resource consumption. Using sustainable medical supplies has also helped dramatically improve the patient’s well-being, reducing the healthcare’s carbon footprint.

In this guide, we delve more into compostable eco-friendly medical supplies and their benefits. We’ll also share a glimpse into some of the most popular eco-friendly medical supplies currently available – let’s get started.

What are Compostable Medical Supplies

Compostable medical supplies are items used in the hospital that can easily be used. They can naturally break down and return to earth without leaving behind harmful residues. These items benefit the healthcare industry and help conserve the environment.

Compostable items are derived from renewable resources such as plant-based materials such as plant fibres, bamboo and cornstarch. These tend to decompose naturally over time.

Unlike traditional medical supplies that cause environmental pollution, compostable supplies offer a sustainable alternative. Some of the compostable medical supplies available in the healthcare industry include bandages, disposable gloves, surgical drapes and gowns. When these items are disposed of, they will go through decomposition, becoming beneficial soil nutrients for plants.

Benefits of Using Compostable Medical Supplies – Do They Make a Suitable Alternative to Traditional Medical Supplies?

Some of the advantages of using compostable medical supplies include:

Environmental Sustainability

Using compostable medical supplies leads to environmental sustainability—sustainable green healthcare works under reducing, reusing, and recycling. The compostable medical supplies are usually biodegradable, and others can be recycled. This ensures that they find other purposes even after the materials are discarded. This helps reduce medical waste’s environmental impact, which conserves the environment and fosters better sustainability.

Reduces Carbon Footprint

Compostable medical supplies reduce carbon footprint by minimising the use of non-renewable resources. Usually, traditional medical supplies are made from items such as fossil fuels and plastics. Such are notorious for greenhouse gas emissions during production and disposal.

On the other hand, compostable medical supplies are made from plant-based fibres, require less energy to produce and lower carbon emissions. Also, when disposed of, they go through natural decomposition, producing fewer greenhouse gases, unlike the decomposition of traditional plastics.

Safer Communities

Another significant benefit of using compostable medical supplies, unlike traditional medical supplies, is that they contribute to safer communities. Compostable medical supplies significantly reduce medical waste generation. Also, sustainable medical practices significantly reduce pollution and contamination of the environment, water sources and ecosystems. Therefore, communities experience a cleaner and safer place to live.

Reduces Landfill Waste

As mentioned, compostable medical supplies are quickly broken down into helpful waste when disposed of. Therefore, you will not see gloves or used bandages around, which take so many years to decompose in landfills.

Compostable medical items will undergo natural decomposition, turning into nutrient-rich soils. They are significant in reducing the amount of landfill waste and also reduce the need to create new landfill sites.

Fosters a Positive Brand Image

The rise of sustainable environmental practices is apparent. Therefore, if your medical supply company is focused on more sustainable medical practices and sharing them with the world, it creates a positive brand image among your audiences.

Popular Eco-Friendly Medical Supplies

Some of the most common eco-friendly medical supplies you will find include:

Biodegradable Medicine Cups

Biodegradable medicine cups are eco-friendly options to traditional plastic cups. They are made from plants and usually break down naturally when disposed of, reducing environmental impact. Unlike plastic cups, biodegradable medicine cups help minimise plastic waste in healthcare settings. Using such cups promotes sustainability and better waste management practices.

Compostable Underpads

Compostable underpads are environmentally friendly options to traditional disposable underpads. Since they are made from natural materials such as plant fibres, they quickly break into organic matter when adequately disposed of.

Paper Medicine Cups

Paper medicine cups are made from recycled, biodegradable paper. Also known as paper pill cups, these are instrumental in the healthcare industry for dispensing mouthwash and water and providing patients with a means to rinse their mouths during dental procedures.

Paper medicine cups have contributed to better environmental sustainability as they easily convert into organic matter when disposed of.

Disposable Towels

These are single-use paper or fabric disposable towels that are hygienic and convenient. These disposable towels are primarily used in healthcare settings and offer a sanitary option to dry hands and surfaces. Also, the fact that they are made from compostable materials helps reduce plastic waste in healthcare settings.

Proper Disposal of Compostable Medical Supplies

To realise the great benefits of compostable medical supplies in the environment, there is a dire need to ensure that they are correctly disposed of. By adopting good waste management practices, they can provide proper disposal so that the items decompose well. Here are some disposal protocols to adopt:

Segregation and Collection

Ensure that you separate your compostable medical supplies from other waste streams. This can be done by using specific bins for compostable materials to avoid contamination. Also, when transporting such bins, ensure they are professionally handled to prevent leaks.

Transportation and Delivery to Composting Facility

It is vital to be extra careful when transporting compostable waste. Ensure leak-proof bins or containers specifically designed for medical waste disposal are used. Follow all transportation regulations and safety protocols to safely transport and deliver the compostable waste to the desired destination.

Also, it is essential to ensure that all compostable waste is taken to a certified composting facility. It should be able to properly handle medical waste without leading to further environmental damage. Ask the facility for specific instructions for drop-off procedures and documentation requirements.

Processing and Final Disposal

Facilities that carry out the composting process should be careful as they aim to break down the compostable medical supplies into valuable organic matter. They should carefully evaluate the composting process to ensure effective decomposition and compliance with regulatory standards. Once this process is complete, the resulting items can be reused for applications such as soil enrichment. It can also be disposed of according to local regulations for organic waste management.

Embracing compostable and biodegradable medical supplies presents a vital opportunity to reduce waste and environmental impact in healthcare settings. Let’s prioritise sustainability by choosing eco-friendly options like compostable underpads and biodegradable cups etc. Take action now for a greener future. Explore sustainable medical supplies today!